Wyoming Deserves An NCAA Tournament Bid
Will the Cowboys punch their ticket?
Jeff Linder might be holding his breath
The Wyoming Cowboys Men’s Basketball team has had one of it’s best regular seasons in Program History this year. This team has been seen as a NCAA Tournament lock for the better part of the season, Being ranked as high as 10th in the NET rankings, the Cowboys have received a lot of attention. However, the last three weeks of the season were brutal for the Cowboys with them dropping five out of nine games, including a semifinal exit from the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Despite the slow end to the season the Cowboys definitely have a resume that warrants them playing in the Big Dance. Let’s go over the top 3 reasons Wyoming belongs in the field of 68.
The Cowboys are Road Warriors
One huge factor for the Cowboys this year has been their performance on the road. The Cowboys have 9 true road wins, which is the best in the Mountain West Conference, and good for 11th in the country. Only one team from a Power Conference has more road wins than the Cowboys do. Tournament teams play well on the road. Wyoming has shown that they can win on the road. The Cowboys have road wins against Washington, Grand Canyon, Cal-State Fullerton, Utah State, Nevada, Air Force, Fresno State, San Jose State, and a win against UNLV on their home court in the conference Tournament. This is the most road wins that the Cowboys have had in program history.
Arguably the most one of the most impressive stretches during the season for Wyoming was from January 31 to February 8th in which they won 4 huge games in 8 days. During that stretch, the Cowboys had wins against Colorado State, Boise State, Fresno State, and Utah State.
At the time each one of those teams was top 50 in the NET Rankings, and Boise State and Colorado State are almost certainly playing in the tournament next week. Furthermore, it showed that the Cowboys know how to win close games, as each of those games were won by a single possession. Winning close games is what March Madness is all about.
Hunter Maldonado and Graham Ike
I will be the first to admit that this is not the most important factor on Selection Sunday, but it would be an absolute travesty to not see the country’s highest scoring duo not playing on the biggest stage in March. Maldonado and Ike have flat out been impressive this year, and they provide a lot of mismatches that would help the Cowboys against other teams in the big dance. Hunter Maldonado is playing as a 6’7” point guard who likes to play out of the post. Not many teams can match up well against a 6’7” point guard.
Graham Ike plays like an old school big man in the modern game. He generally lives in the low post and has the grace and finesse to make all but the stingiest defenders pay, add in the fact that he is left-handed and has a 7’5” wingspan and it makes him a nightmare for opposing coaches to gameplan against. With these two players, the Cowboys play in a very different way as compared to many teams today. Many teams today live and die by the three-point shot, whereas Wyoming lives in the post.
Getting the 🪣 @therealhunter24 pic.twitter.com/SmMXimxMEf
— Wyoming Cowboy Basketball (@wyo_mbb) March 12, 2022
Bonus: Even CSU fans know that the Cowboys belong in the Tournament!
A simple reminder that @wyo_mbb has more Quad1/Quad 2 wins than any ACC team not named Duke. Its criminal if they’re not dancing this year.
— Steve Ivy (@swollcracker) March 12, 2022
Tune in to the Tournament Selection show Sunday, March 13th at 4 PM MDT, to find out if the Cowboys make it into the Tournament.